At a glance
- Enhanced interviews and recruitment
- Met executive demand for top end telepresence
- Enthusiastic acceptance of the immersive video
- Saved costs, reduced stress and travel
Leading International Asset and Insurance Firm Effectively Utilizes Immersive Telepresence to Service Its Vast Clientele
Efficient use of its immersive telepresence network gives SCOR, a leading international reinsurance and asset management firm, the ability to serve the finance interests of it’s vast list of clientele.
A large, international group...
The SCOR group is a leading international company in the reinsurance market. Organised around two main businesses, SCOR Global P&C and SCOR Global Life, plus an asset management business, SCOR Global Investments, the Group is ideally equipped to serve the interests of its 3600 clients. The team of 1600 employees is based in 44 offices located across five continents. In 2009, the businesses which are grouped together in six hubs (Paris, Zurich, London, Cologne, Singapore and New York), generated a turnover of EUR 6.38 billion.
Video conferencing is already in place
An organisation spread out across the globe like SCOR, has to be equipped with visual communication technology. Traditional video conference systems are in all offices, including a Polycom HDX7000 Media Center in the CEO’s office. The equipment installed is eclectic, comprised of older versions and the lack of a dedicated network has caused some loss of quality and difficulties in setting up calls. This, coupled with the dual need to reduce travel—the economic need in terms of cost and the human need in terms of stress—has led General Management to move on to the next step: telepresence. An awareness of the complexity of such a solution prompted SCOR to seek the council and expertise of an integrator, Verizon Business, to entrust with the management of the project.
Polycom RPX Immersive Telepresence: A Cut Above!
An invitation to tender was therefore launched. The first elements for comparison with rival offers related to traditional telepresence in the form of Polycom Telepresence Experience (TPX). The choice was not easy, and at this stage was mainly based on purely technical criteria. In this context, Polycom offered a first level of benefits in its complete openness to norms and standards, as well as to compatibility of its room systems with some of the specific functions present across most of SCOR’s existing equipment, such as the QoS technology, Polycom Lost Packet Recovery (LPR). After the first demonstrations and when the Executive Committee actually began testing the solution, the point of comparison quickly changed: the immersive telepresence of Polycom RealPresence Experience (RPX) rooms offers a whole new level of comfort, finish and ergonomics: the type of wood used for the table, the leather chairs, the acoustic ceiling tiles which incorporate microphones and focused light, and the platform for a second level of users who remain visible without having to lean over are just some of the factors that led to the decision in favour of Polycom. Indeed, these features succeeded in meeting some ethical governance criteria.
Sophisticated and efficient organization
To implement the telepresence solution, SCOR decided to delegate management of the service and network to a group of companies. The integrator Verizon Business acts as project manager to activate and coordinate the various suppliers: Polycom for the hardware part of the solution (technology, furniture, acoustic ceiling etc.) and professional services, British Telecom for the IP network dedicated to telepresence and Glowpoint for the concierge and support services. “We have outsourced the room reservation, user support and reporting services to Glowpoint,” says Laurent Chartier, the Manager for Scor of IT, Network and Telecom, in charge of the project. Any potential user must contact one of the SCOR employees authorised to make room reservations, which have access to the Glowpoint extranet in order to carry out this task.
Installation was realised under Polycom Professional Services: a Project Manager was assigned to each site, a Program Manager to coordinate between all sites, an Engagement Manager for the entire program who delivered weekly status updates. In addition to human resources mentioned above, the use of a dashboard to monitor key milestones, various meetings held at start and during the course of implementation, and open engagement with the Account team at every juncture of the initial phases, up to the EMEA President, ensured a successful deployment which enabled SCOR to experience the advantages of the Polycom solution within the agreed project timeframe. Ongoing support is provided by Polycom under the Elite ImmersiveCare service level, offering proactive account based support tightly integrated with the Concierge Services from Glowpoint to provide seamless support to SCOR.
For users, it’s all about the simplicity
The primary advantage of Polycom RPX immersive telepresence is its ease of use: at the time of the meeting, the user enters the room, immediately sees the other connected room or rooms on screen and has nothing further to do other than to sit down and say hello to the people online!
Telepresence plays a social role: groups of users working via audio connection are now very happy to work face to face!: Regis Delayat, Chief Technical Officer at Scor, believes the quick adoption by the employees is due to the simplicity. “The warmth of the wood and the large comfortable chairs are reassuring for technophobes” he says.
Testament to the employees’ enthusiasm for immersive telepresence, a second room has been installed at the London hub, less than six months after the start of the operation!
Various other projects aim to widen the influence of visual communication at SCOR are being examined, and it is planned for personal telepresence systems to be installed in the offices of members of the Executive Committee to allow them to join conferences without leaving their offices, while maintaining high-definition quality.
A scheduled upgrade of the current telephony solution has caused the SCOR networks & telecoms team to reflect upon its integration with telepresence solutions, based on a principle of unified communications. The two networks used for transporting traditional video conferencing and for immersive telepresence, which are currently different, are to be grouped together, which could lead to traditional video conferencing systems being completely or partly managed by Glowpoint’s VNOC.
The usage aspect has not been left out of the equation either: Discussions are underway to examine to what extent the training department could benefit from this visual communication; Polycom Video Border Proxy (VBP), converged network appliance will provide secure access allowing external communication with strategic clients.